Thursday, March 27, 2008

Political Journalism and It's Nasty Little Secret

Throughout this historical presidential primary I’ve noticed underlying preferences among journalists while they stand by their claims of neutrality in the political arena. So I began to contemplate the implications for remaining neutral and upon further research found that the idea of unbiased political reporting grew from a tradition, and in my opinion, a harmful one at that. It turns out that as journalism evolved from a “less credentialed reporters” era into a well-oiled machine made up of certified observants, the common view was that the personal preferences of journalists’ would have an effect on the public. However, this ignorant concept of neutrality is having a far more negative effect on journalism than if the reporters were to make their preferences known.
Essentially, the current system is perpetuating a lie. Hidden amongst the news is the true opinion of most reporters and it’s evident to myself and millions of other Americans. It sends a message that the media is unauthentic and phony. We aren’t idiots. We know that it’s impossible to be immersed in a political campaign and not care who wins. Additionally, the attention that goes into uncovering reporters preferences steals attention from the political topics that really matter.
It is possible to report on political news in such a way that gives equal voice to both sides of the story, regardless of the reporters’ views. This is the foundation of journalism. So why does it not apply here? Because no one else is doing it. The fear of loosing viewership and readership is driven by the almighty dollar. If only large media syndicates would realize the overwhelming cry for authenticity amongst the American public and begin to report the whole story. Maybe then, could they offer the truth and let us decide right from wrong, rather than have us decipher the news in search for the true relevance. This new system would force reporters to prove that fairness is possible in every story and that the truth is the only thing that matters in journalism.

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